Monday, June 30, 2014

Aquaponics Impact: Feeding Bellies, Confidence and Independence

We are so excited to share with all of you the progress and amazing impact that the aquaponics farm is making at Grace Village and the surrounding villages in Titanyen, Haiti.  The aquaponics system is at 100% capacity!  This is a huge milestone and is the result of 1 1/2 years of slow and steady progress.  It's important to highlight that through this initiative, we are able to employ three full-time HaitiansSalomon, Franck and Isaacin the management and operation of the farm with the assistance of Mark, our long-term missionary (pictured below).

It's been truly amazing to see God work through the aquaponics farm initiative in ways we didn't even dream of.  Healing Haiti always strives to create an environment that challenges Haitians to take initiative and responsibility, develop their leadership, and empowers them to make decisions, exercise their strengths and reach their full potential.  We have seen Haitians blossom and grow through their work on the farm, it's been inspiring to see what they've learned and how empowered they feel.

Here are some specific milestones of celebration and praise:
  • Healing Haiti is employing and empowering Haitians to manage water quality, feed and care for fish, plant and grow hydroponically, harvest plants and fish.
  • We are able to employ local women to assist with fish harvest.
  • The farm is currently producing hundreds of pounds of peppers, egg plants, kale, cucumbers, cabbage, chives and other vegetables, which are a critical addition the Haitians diet, and are typically very hard to grow in Titanyen's dry climate and rocky soil.
  • The Haitians are harvesting more than 300 tilapia every three months – provides a nutrient rich source of protein for the children, elderly and partnering orphanages.

Celebrate these milestones with us, and join us in thanking God for the amazing things He is doing through this area of our ministry!

To learn more about the aquaponics farm, visit our website

    Monday, June 23, 2014

    A Beyond Powerful Experience: Healing Haiti Child Sponsorship

    Volunteering on the Healing Haiti Sponsorship team and getting to meet Bondja, a child at Grace Village that I have the wonderful privilege of sponsoring, was an unexpected part of my time in Haiti, but one I can't imagine it without. 

    During my trip to Haiti, and after our team met one night at the guesthouse, I started to write in my journal and reflect on the day. Sitting at the kitchen table, I started thinking about how I had always wanted to sponsor a child somewhere, help them achieve things we often don't even give a second thought to. I began looking through the Healing Haiti sponsorship page and immediately one of the kids at Grace Village just jumped out at me. Bondja liked studying and wanted to be an engineer some day, really liked to eat rice, and loves to play soccer all day. What a great kid! I decided that night to sponsor Bondja. I remember praying that night that I would get to meet him. And wow, did God show up. Two days of the trip I was able to visit him at Grace Village. We talked about school, and how he loves to study and learn (he told me he spends every Saturday on the playground studying!).  We spent time on the swings, he schooled me in soccer, and on our last day we took in the most powerful worship service I've ever been to. 

    Deciding to sponsor a child and then having the opportunity to meet him, spend time with him, learn about his life, ask his questions, see him laugh—it’s an experience that is difficult to describe, and is beyond just powerful. I look forward to Team Izaites returning to Haiti this October and to get to see Bondja again. He may never know it, but he changed my life that week down in Titanyen, and for that, I'll be forever grateful.

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014

    Grace Church Pastoral Leadership & Educational Conferences

    This past May, the Healing Haiti Faith & Education Advocates, lead by Sue Lennartson and Linda Blesener, had the wonderful opportunity to conduct the first Pastoral Leader Conference, a 2-day conference that took place at Grace Church in Titanyen, Haiti.  Grace Church’s own pastors Gary St. Hubert and Wesley Altime hosted the conference.  Over 270 area pastors, associates and children’s ministers attended.  On Day 2 of the conference, we were blessed to have three pastors from Eagle Brook Church in Minnesota attend as well.  It was absolutely amazing!

    The conference was filled with inspiration, learning, prophecy, generosity, the exchange of knowledge and teaching, and so much more.  We were blessed with selfless worship leaders (pictured on the left) and inspirational speakers who presented impactful lessons, building tools and testimonies to lift up a terrific group of pastors who were eager to learn and share ideas with one another.  There was fruitful open discussion amongst the speakers and audience, and we had the wonderful opportunity to learn from each other.  
    Later in the week, we hosted a 2-day Education Conference for teachers and staff from Grace Academy and from other area schools.  We engaged in hard discussions, thought-provoking games and activities, and brainstorming new ideas to keep students engaged in their education, all while building a strong team of great educators in Haiti.  This is the 3rd Education Conference and the first one that was extended beyond Grace Academy.  The lessons during these two days focused on the care of the students and the teachers.  It is vital that we celebrate the successes, the joy of teaching and the joy of learning and the relationship between the student and teacher.

    One of the many beauties of this trip was that we were a small team and got to work closely with one another, the Grace Church Worship staff, the teachers and a few of the long-term missionaries in a capacity we wouldn’t normal be able to do.  In all that we did, we were able to spend much more time getting to know, encourage, and pour our hearts into the leaders of the churches and schools.

    The entire week set time aside for our mission team, the hosts, presenters, pastors and teachers to be infused with a renewed faith and a refreshed vision to expect and reach for greater things for God.  We ask for continued prayers for the churches and schools in Titanyen, Haiti, to continue impacting their communities in impactful ways!

    (Written by Carolyn Pugh, Faith & Education Advocate)

    Monday, June 9, 2014

    Haitian Initiative Soccer Program: Feeding Bellies, Minds and Hearts

    There are many obstacles that keep a Haitian child from going to school. Too often, the parents are unemployed and cannot afford tuition, school uniforms or supplies for their children. Other times, the child has to stay home and care for other siblings while the parents are away working long hours for very little money.

    In Cite Soleil, Healing Haiti has sponsored children in school, purchased uniforms and supplies, and still children did not attend school regularly. It broke my heart when we discovered that these kids had to face a daily decision: Go to school, or spend their day on the streets, begging for scraps of food to quiet their empty and hurting stomachs. 

    The Haitian Initiative Soccer Program started in Cite Soleil two years ago. Its premise was to use soccer as a catalyst to motivate kids to stay in school and get good grades. This is the requirement to be in the program, and soccer is a great motivator in Haiti. Every child dreams of becoming a professional soccer player! However, as an Advocate for the program I soon discovered that even the dream of becoming a professional soccer player does not account for the main obstacle that these kids face each day. Hunger.

    Hunger makes it difficult for a child to focus in school. Hunger and malnutrition keep these kids from growing and warding off disease. Hunger leads to low energy and lack of motivation. Hunger keeps children from following their dreams. This realization moved us to partner with Feed My Starving Children and add the provision of a meal after each soccer practice. When children know they will have a meal to count on each day, it removes a major obstacle from their path. They can attend school. They can play soccer. Most importantly they can be a kid again!

    I am so thankful to our partners and supporters who keep this program running.  Because of their support, we are providing daily nutrition to 250 kids in the Haitian Initiative Soccer Program. That means that 250 kids living in one of the poorest slums in the world will not go to bed hungry tonight. Instead they can go to school and thrive, and doors of opportunity will open for them.

    (Written by Laura Fixsen, Soccer Feeding Program Advocate)